Digital Music Trends – Midem 2010 Special – Days 4 and 5

As part of my Midm Coverage: an overview of the panels I attended in day 4 and 5 of Midem 2010 on Twitter, Piracy, Publishing and Topspin. Also an interview w/ Dave Haynes from Soundcloud on their integration w/ the Hype Machine and one w/ Ted Cohen managing partner at TAG Strategic.


Midem 2010 Special – Days 4 and 5 by digitalmusictrends

Hello everyone and welcome to another Midem 2010 special podcast from DigitalMusicTrends.  In this podcast I’m going to cover day 4 and 5 of Midem 2010. These were the closing days of the conference so tiredness was starting to become a factor but I worked flat out to bring you the best interviews possible. In these two days I sat down with Ted Cohen, chair of Midemnet and managing partner at TAG startegic, with Panos Panay, founder of sonicbids,  with Jean-Luc Biaulet, who is owner and founder of the site, with with Duncan Freeman from and I’ve also had a quick chat with Dave Haynes from Soundcloud focused on the announcement the company made here at Midem of its new partnership with the Hype Machine.

I can’t include every single interview on the podcast – although I’m contemplating putting together a special this week – but I will include a couple at the end of this show. You can find a player with all the separate interviews on or on

In terms of the three panels I attended, the first one was a Minemnet Academy presentation on Twitter by the co-author of Twitter for dummies and founder of Uptown Uncorked Leslie Poston who on twitter is simply @leslie. She gave a very insightful presentation on how bands can exploit Twitter in a very concrete way in order to connect with their audience and ultimately build a following of people who are engaged with them and might even be tempted to buy their music or go to their show. I’m going to summarize Lucy’s points very briefly but in a nutshell artist engagement is the key here. Because on Twitter you don’t get much space to witter on endlessly you have to be very concise and appealing in your presentation. For example the first thing is to have a good profile and bio, you are only allowed a 160 words biography so you really have to make it interesting and to put a lot of keywords in there because now twitter profiles have a high placement on Google searches. Also, people tend to visit the website only to check out the page of someone with an interesting post or someone who just started following them – so you only get one shot at catching their attention and making sure they follow you back and/or click through to your actual website.
There are some unwritten rules on Twitter, for example I didn’t know that it’s rude for a band not to follow at least two thirds of their followers and it’s very important for the band to engage with the fans that are talking about them and to be as present as possible within the community.
Another very important part of Twitter is the creation of a really good landing page since on Twitter you are only allowed to show one external link. This should really be the artist’s own page and not a Myspace or Facebook profile and it should capture the interests and the imagination of the artist’s core audience. Again, people will only click on a link once and if they are not interested it’s unlikely that they’ll visit that website again. Also another great tip is to avoid using a lot of Flash as Google’s crawlers can’t index Flash content and therefore you will loose rankings in the eyes of the Great Google Algorythm.
All artists, and especially artists who don’t have such an easy time to communicate with their audience, really have to set themselves goals and push themselves to use twitter on a regular basis. If you set 3 and 6 months goal then you can follow a certain strategy in terms of the presence you have on Twitter and if you see it does not work you can then try another strategy and seeing if that works instead. You don’t want to keep going for a year with the same strategy without seeing any significant improvement in the followers base or activity on our page because that would really be a loss of time. Twitter is also a great tool for reaching out to people directly and Djs, production houses, club, graphic designers are all present and active on Twitter and you are often reaching the bookings manager or the MD of the company directly.

Lucy’s Midem Academy presentation gave some great practical and usable tips which I think everyone in the audience found very refreshing so I would think that following her on Twitter and getting hold of her Twitter for Dummies might not be a bad idea if you want to use this medium at its best.

A little later on Tuesday I attended an interview with David Rezner CEO of Universal Music Publishing group – here he announced that the group is launching a new channel of Vevo – the platform made by Universal, Sony and Emi in partnership with Youtube – called “Behind the Hit Song” which will include premium footage of the songwriters talking about the creation of the song – the first video being that of Glen Ballard talking about Man in the Mirror. I was still fresh from my chats with Jonathan Klein – CEO of Getty Images on pre-cleared music licenses and with Cliff Fluet – entertainment lawyer specialized in digital and advertising on the difficulty and time required to clear a popular track- and could not help asking Mr Rezner about Universal Music Publishing’s whether they were taking any steps to streamline the licensing process at all. Apparently they are already trying to pre-clear a lot of music especially when it comes down to catalogue material and they always make sure that the client knows what’s readily available and what might require more time to license but according to Mr Rezner the final decision lies with the artist because without artist approval it’s not likely that a licensing deal will close.

In my opinion it seems like the complexity of music licensing is often outpaced by the speed at which many advertising agencies work when finalizing advertising campaigns and other promotional material. This is also corroborated by the number of brands that are flocking to unsigned musicians in order to get their music via sites like Sonicbids in order to cut through all the red tape that comes from trying to license a track from a more established act.

And finally I attended a great panel entitled Music and Digital – the Political initiatives to regulate the relationship between these two industries. The Speakers included the president of Promusicae in Spain, the president of the Songwriters Association of Canada, the chief executive of the BPI in the UK, the chairman of the IFPI in Sweden and the CEO of Naive. It was really interesting to see how all these countries have a different approach to tackling piracy. Spain will not target the user but is looking into targeting websites that offer copyrighted content, even though these constitute only 30% of all pirated material and the rest belongs to P2P Networks. Sweden’s record companies have had a good year after the implementation of the Ipred regulations prompted many people to go legal, in France the six months debate around the new measures to implement against piracy seem to have already done some good in terms of the public’s perception of the problem even before the actual implementation of the Hadopi, whilst the UK is very much on the fence especially because fo the upcoming election which might derail the bill currently in the works and whilst the BPI represnetative felt confident that something will be passed before Brown calls for the general election I’m not so sure that is going to be the case. In short – it’s a real mess even just in Europe to find a consistent approach to the problem, and with every single one of these approaches it’s very easy to avoid detection. Many countries around the world are aware of the problem but they are sitting on the fence to see how the implementation of each and every one of these models impacts consumption and music revenue. It’s very likely that a year from now – if one method proves to be the clear winner – other countries will follow in its footsteps. It has to be said though that cultural differences between countries mean that a specific response to a specific measure could create very different results in Italy as opposed to Sweden.

On Wednesday the real highlight was the panel conducted by Shamal Ranasinghe, co-founder of Topspin – on the tools that are available today to organize your digital footprints. It’s so easy today to disseminate your content online without really reaping the benefits or even understanding who is enjoying your product. At Topspin they are real masters in creating channels for artists where they can actually create a relationship with their fans and monetize that relationship as well. The website has a vast knowledge base section and a green room where you can discuss Topspin product usage, direct to fan marketing, best practices and a whole load of other subjects in an open community. Shamal talked about the need to create a permission based relationship (via facebook, twitter or a mailing list) with the fans and then being able to build on that to create revenue. The steps you have to take over and over again in order to monetize on the content are:

– establish goals

– craft offers to meet the goals

– collect data

– test and measure 

– optimize

Physical sales are still the ones that drive the most revenue – and in particular higher priced options which naturally have higher margins are prone to selling very well. It’s important to create a selection of offers priced differently to cover all the basis from 10 or 15 dollars through to 30 and over 50 as well for those prepared to pay for a premium product.

Artists need to be able to use the analysis tools at their disposal – especially google analytics and sites like bandmetrics to gauge the effect of their mail-outs on traffic and the popularity of their content. The session was really full of information – i was hoping they’d publish the power point on their website but nothing has appeared as of yet    and you can find the PowerPoint and PDF presentation of this lecture on If you are interested in this sort of thing it’s imperative that you look up and browse around for the community and the knowledge base.

Please check out for all the MIDEM interviews!



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